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Monday, July 18, 2016


Maiden Name is not on Death Certificate

How many times have you come across a death certificate that did not list the mother’s maiden name? Without the maiden name, it is difficult to find the parents of your female ancestor. Hopefully, you will find clues to help you by following the trek back to the parents of Laura Mitchell.

The parents of Aaron Mitchell, Sr. are listed in his death certificate. They are: Lonnie Mitchell and Laura. Aaron was born October 9, 1905 in Texas, and he died January 1, 1970 in Groesbeck, Limestone County, Texas. The informant, Minnie Mae Mitchell did not give the maiden name of Aaron’s mother.

1940 Census
It is a great practice to observe the dynamics of a family on each census starting with the most recent. You could begin by locating Aaron Mitchell on the 1940 Census. He would be about 35 year old. The 1940 Census shows Aaron and Minnie living in Brazos County, Texas with the following children:
  • Aaron, 13
  • Marcellus, 11
  • Minnie, 9
  • Evelyn, 7
  • Margaret, 4
  • Norma, 2

The informant on the death certificate could have been Aaron’s wife or daughter. They both were named Minnie. Marcellus and Aaron Jr. should appear on the 1930 Census.

1930 Census
In 1930, Aaron and Minnie were living in the same county with the following children:
Aaron, 3
Buddy, 1
According to this census, Aaron married at 21, and Minnie was 17. The 1920 Census should show an eleven year old Aaron at home with his parents.

Searching each census year going back every ten years was the best route because the 1930 US Census revealed that Lonnie Mitchell, the father of Aaron Mitchell was actually born in North Carolina. If you jumped right away to find Lonnie, you may have wasted time looking for him during the early years in Texas. Plus, using the census to go back in time helps you to get a feel for possible a marriage date for Aaron’s parents and birth dates of his siblings. Lonnie and Laura were listed with the following children:
  • Odessa, 18
  • Marcellus, 16
  • Aaron, 14
  • Mabel, 12
  • Rhodie, 10
  • Alberta, 8
  • Annie, 7
  • Curtis, 6
  • Lonnie, 4
  • Mary Lee, 3
  • Ada, 2 months

Remember that the death certificate of Aaron Mitchell, Sr. did not list his mother’s maiden name? Well with the knowledge of ten other siblings, how likely do you think it would be for one of their death certificates to list Laura’s maiden name?

Death certificates
A quick way to find these deaths would be to search their parent’s names. A search using Lonnie Mitchell and Laura in Brazos County, Texas results in the death certificate of Marcellus Mitchell (1903-1969) which includes the maiden name for his mother, Laura: Hines.

Next, a search for parents, Lonnie and Laura Hines Mitchell among the Texas Deaths (1890-1976) results in more children’s death certificates:

Birth certificates
Brazos County birth certificates are also available between 1903 and 1935. You could have also confirmed Laura’s maiden name (Hines) using the birth certificate collection:

If you compare the births of Aaron and Curtis, you can see that they were twins. Hopefully, you can see the importance of researching each census year and researching the children to learn more about the parents. Researching the deaths and births of the children of Laura led to the discovery of her maiden name. The marriage record of Lonnie and Laura also reveals Laura’s maiden name.


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